‘I saw on his shirt, it had like red coming out:’ Highland Park young adults share their traumas


HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (CBS) — A week to the day after a July 4 parade massacre hit the tight-knit community of Highland Park, the yellow crime scene tape is down and downtown streets are once again open.

But as CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman reported Monday night, the impact on young adults in the community is now becoming clear.

A future freshman from Deerfield High School survived the July 4 parade massacre with a bullet to her chest. She is now on a long road to recovery.

Three other recent high school graduates were uninjured but will forever remember the signs and sounds of what happened on Central and St. Johns avenues in their hometown.

“It’s only been a week, but so far it’s been tough,” Elizabeth Angeles said.

It’s also hard to believe, Angeles said. She, her daughter and her little sister – Jamie Mazariegos, just 14 – survived the shooting of the Highland Park parade exactly one week ago.

When the shots rang out last Monday, they all ran and hid. Jamie had been shot in the chest.

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Jamie Mazariegos

Family photo


“When we got to a safe place, I asked if everyone was okay, and they said yes,” Angeles said. “But then I saw on her shirt, it had like red coming out – and I lifted her up, and that’s when I saw she had been hurt.”

The bullet went through Jamie.

“She’s like the sweet one of us three,” Angeles said. “She doesn’t really talk about what happened to her. She just tries to be herself.”

Angeles says her little sister — who was supposed to start Deerfield High School in the fall — won’t be ready to be in the crowd for a while. She has a long road to recovery and their mother has stopped working to care for her 24/7.

And it’s the same story for three young graduates of Highland Park High School, who returned to the scene a week after the shooting.

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(lr) Lia Gardner, Rachel Meltser, Sage Marselle

SCS2


“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced,” Lia Gardner said. “It’s so crazy to be where it happened.”

The three were walking in the parade, two blocks from where gunfire rang out. They said experiencing the massacre will have a lasting impact as they all head off to college in the fall.

“You’re kind of like always like something bad is going to happen,” Saige Marselle said.

“It’s kind of like your heart stops and your stomach drops a little bit, and it’s kind of like, ugh, like, I’m really not safe anywhere now,” Rachel Meltser said.

Gardner messaged his mother during filming, time stamped 10:21 a.m. He was like, ‘Just in case — I want to let you know that I love you.'”

“It sucks having to send that text, and it sucks being on the receiving end,” Gardner said.

If there’s a ray of hope in light of all this tragedy, the three young women say they appreciate those who love them a little more – and hug them a little more.

“It really brings you closer to your parents,” Gardner said.

“Now every time I leave my house, I make sure to give them a big hug and tell them I love them, because I think that could have been me,” Marselle added.

These three young graduates from Highland Park lit candles at the scene in honor of the victims.

There is also a fundraiser to help Jamie and his mother, which you can find here.

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